Pope Francis met approximately 1,000 priests, nuns, religious, consecrated persons, seminarians and catechists in the parish of St. Peter. 18,000 people came specifically for the occassion. There were also tribal Akha, as well as Vietnamese, Cambodians, Singaporeans, Indonesians and Filipinos. 10 trucks left, which will distribute 600 thousand bottles of water blessed by the pontiff for the country.
Sam Phran (AsiaNews) - "Pope, China awaits you!" This is the message presented this morning by a group of Chinese pilgrims (photo), who arrived in Thailand to meet Pope Francis on his ninth apostolic journey to Asia.
Among the 18,000 faithful who came to the parish of St. Peter, in the district of Sam Phran (Nakhon Pathom province), the Chinese presence was quite substantial - in the order of hundreds of people. But also the tribal Akha - from the far northern provinces of Thailand - as well as Vietnamese, Cambodians, Singaporeans, Indonesians and Filipinos, colored the festive crowd.
During the only official event outside of Bangkok of his apostolic journey, Pope Francis met about 1,000 priests, nuns, religious, consecrated persons, seminarians and catechists in the church. The pontiff was greeted by Msgr. Joseph Pradhan Sridarunsil, bishop of the Diocese of Surat Thani. Next, the testimony of Benedetta Jongrak Donoran, who converted from Buddhism to Catholicism in 2012 and who is now a postulant of the Missionaries of Mary (Saverian).
The Pope then met with the bishops of Thailand and the Federation of Episcopal Conferences of Asia (FABC) in the sanctuary opposite the church of St. Peter, dedicated to the blessed martyr Nicholas Boonkerd Kitbamrung - better known as Fr. Benedikto Chunkim. Born January 31, 1895, he died on January 12, 1944 in the former kingdom of Siam during the five-year period (1940-1944) marked by attacks against the Christian minority, killing of priests, closing of schools and Catholic churches.
After having received the Jesuit community in private audience, the pontiff finally returned to the Thai capital for the last two events of the day: the meeting with the religious leaders at Chulalongkorn University and Mass with young people at the Cathedral of 'the Assumption. Meanwhile, Catholic volunteers loaded 600,000 bottles of water blessed by the Pope onto 10 trucks that will distribute the precious cargo among all the communities in the country.